Commerce ministry to support small businesses
Owners of small business will receive free and confidential advice to solve a business problem thanks to the Student Consulting Programme.
The Student Consulting Programme, which kicked off its 11th year on Wednesday, 6 February, partners small businesses with upper-level business students of the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI). It is a joint partnership between the Ministry of Commerce, UCCI and Cayman National Bank (CNB).
A total of eighteen students, including one student in Cayman Brac, and five small businesses will participate in this year’s programme. Students will work to provide advice to business owner with the aim of helping the business solve a particular problem or reach a specific goal.
“Small business are a vital part of our local economy and ensuring small business owners receive the support they need is one of the most important priorities for my Ministry,” notes Minister for Commerce, Hon. Joseph Hew.
Mr Hew adds “This programme is just one way in which the ministry is working to encourage and develop businesses.”
UCCI Programme Coordinator, Annette Murphy, says the programme is a benefit to all parties “The reason this programme is so successful is that it everyone involves takes away something valuable. Business owners gain free consultation and are able to move their company forward, and students get to put their knowledge to practice.”
This year marks a new milestone for the programme, as a non-profit organisation, Literacy is for Everyone (LIFE), participates for the first time.
“The civil society sector provides community enhancement that helps us become a well-rounded society and help grow the economy. By helping a charity grow, these students are helping issues that impact our community,” notes Marilyn Conolly, Executive Director of LIFE.
“Our charity is ready to grow to be a bigger more vibrant charity that can solve this problem of illiteracy, and we hope that by participating in the programme we can become a lot more efficient in how we deliver our services,” she adds.
Gueva Richards, a student participating in this year’s programme says she is excited to get started. “I hope to gain more insight into what it takes holistically to form and operator a business to be prosperous. This programme is beneficial because it helps take what we are learning and translate into the working world.”
The lessons learned and progress made by both students and business owners is what drives CNB to continue to support the programme.
“At CNB we value the opportunity to help our community grow. We are particularly fond of this programme because it’s supporting small businesses and is focused on our young people’s education. We’re happy to see the programme reach its 11th year and excited to see the future successes it will bring to all the participants,” comments Lisha Ferguson, CNB Marketing Assistant.
The Student Consulting Programme will run for 10 weeks.